Last week, PowerUp Canada executive director Tzeporah Berman made headlines for quitting the provincial New Democrats over the party's opposition to the carbon tax. But did that membership lapse last year, as she has said. Or did it lapse at least two years ago, as party campaign co-chair Gerry Scott stated in an interview with The Tyee's Garrett Zehr?
Asked about the matter on Public Eye Radio, Ms. Berman said, "I let my membership lapse after they launched the gas tax campaign last year. And, to be clear, I was never saying I've been a card-carrying NDPer my whole life. What I said is I supported the NDP in the last election. I came out very publicly in support of Claire Trevena and Gregor Robertson because they're very green candidates. And I hoped that their running would signal the NDP is going to show greater environmental leadership. And I think, under Carole James, we haven't see that leadership. We've seen the NDP move in the opposite direction - to weaken their environmental platforms. So that's why I'm not supporting them in this election."
"I think it's pretty clear that Gerry Scott is grasping at straws to put some distance between me and the NDP. But they were pretty happy to receive and trumpet my support when I've given it to them. The fact is I've knocked on doors for the NDP, I've publicly supported the NDP and I've voted for them my whole life," said Ms. Berman, who made headlines in 2004 when she quit the Greens to join the New Democrats.
"And this was a very difficult decision for me. But I think we need to put the planet above politics at this point. And we need to call for climate leadership from the right and from the left."
Does that mean Mr. Scott is just making things up? "I think Gerry is pretty clearly just trying to grasp at straws. And the fact is I have supported the NDP in the past. It was on the frontpage of the newspaper in the 2005 election. And I'm not supporting them now. And he's angry about that."
There's no truth then in what Ms. Scott is saying? "He's right. I didn't hold an NDP membership for many years. I didn't hold a membership to any party. And that's in large part because I've worked with non-profit organizations. And I try and ensure that we are non-partisan. The position I'm taking now is very personal. And I did only hold my NDP membership - I took that out when I wanted to very publicly support Claire and Gregor."
So your membership lapsed more than a year ago? "I know that when the envelope came to pay your dues and renew and it also included a letter from Carole saying axe the tax, that's when I decided not to renew," Ms. Berman responded.